Picture this: It's January 1, 2019. A whole year is ahead of you, and this is the very first day. The possibilities are endless. So you sit down and scratch out a few resolutions because you've known for a while that you need to eat more greens, squeeze in more workouts, or whatever else is preventing you from feeling your best. And while those goals might make sense for you, it's easy to forget that actually reaching those goals takes time—a lot of it, usually. This is especially true if you're trying to alter your lifestyle in a meaningful way. Australian influencer Lucy McConnell is here to tell you just that, because she knows from experience.
The personal trainer recently took to Instagram to share four photos of herself, taken over the past four years, to prove that the journey to healthy living is more roller coaster than one-way road.
"If I asked you to tell me in which photo I look the healthiest…In all honesty, I probably couldn't answer that myself," she wrote alongside the photos. "In fact, I don't think I've ever been at a stage where I am the 'healthiest' I could be. I'm still learning what that looks like."
McConnell continued by explaining where she was at, emotionally and physically in each photo. "In the first photo (taken in 2014) my lifestyle was one filled with binge drinking and eating," she wrote. "I was chronically inactive and turned to food during difficult times in my family life. After finishing school I had put on a lot of weight with my newer more sedentary lifestyle and the addition of nights of drinking. I was far from healthy both mentally and physically."
Fast-forward to 2017 and McConnell has lost weight, but she says there's so much more happening than meets the eye. "Photo two may look like a picture of health, however, this was the stage when I lost my menstrual cycle," she wrote. "I was without it for some time. Coupled with that my mental health suffered as a result of being completely obsessed with tracking every morsel of food that I ate, and insistence on not missing a single workout."
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In June of this year, McConnell shared that she overcame amenorrhea (when you don't get your period for a long time). "I was pushing 3000 calories a day with no formal exercise," she wrote. "Shortly after this photo, I got my first period in several years. Despite my physical health looking up, my head was in a place of complete discomfort in my appearance. I felt like I was living in someone else's body."
Today, McConnell says she's doing much better and feels the best she has in years. "The last photo is the most recent," she wrote. "I am exercising and eating well. I have been getting periods, although they are not yet regular. My head is in a much better place, but I still have a lot to work on in improving my relationship with food. I can safely say I feel comfortable and proud of the way my body looks. I did a photo shoot in this body, and I felt absolutely amazing."
All of this internal growth has allowed McConnell to be mindful of the fact that she may not look and feel as she does right now, forever. "Bodies are supposed to change," she wrote. "Life has its seasons, priorities change and bodies don't look the same throughout. That's normal. That's just life."
To those who might be starting on their wellness journey, McConnell says: "Be gentle with yourself." Remember that as you take on resolutions in the new year, or tackle lengthy everyday to-do lists.
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